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The Late Don Stockman's Photos at the Broadway Market

Don Stockman’s mid-1970s-era photos of the Broadway Market, on display at the Broadway Market, are not so much history as biography. They are portraits of market denizens of the period, including workers and patrons, a division that roughly translates also into consensual and non-consensual about being photographed.

The workers face into the camera and patiently—for a second or two anyway—let the photographer snap their picture. He might also be a customer. The shoppers for the most part are unaware they are being photographed. Most of the views of the shoppers are from the side or back. One elderly lady who does notice the photographer taking her picture shows him a magnificent scowl.

Not so much history because the workers and shoppers at the Broadway Market in the 1970s look a lot like the workers and shoppers there now, except that then there were a few more of them. But old people, poor people, hard-worker types, in both the worker and shopper categories.

The lady with the scowl is taking a rest on a stool at the market lunch counter. She hasn’t ordered anything, nor have several other shoppers also taking up stool space. Not surprisingly, that lunch counter is no longer in operation. Like most of the other aliment and sundries islands that in the 1970s were still operating, though maybe just hanging on.

Most of the shoppers are seen on impromptu break from the shopping grind. An old lady in a babushka at an empty table space beside a disarrangement display of cabbages, picking through her purse, counting her coins, laid out in front of her on the table. A man seated on a produce low push cart—off out of the way—reading his newspaper. Another lady checking through a dumpster. Maybe not a shopper at all.

Among the worker portraits, another lady in a babushka, looking up for an instant from whatever she was doing among the crates and bushel baskets. And beefy-looking farmer type, unloading stuff from a truck to then cart inside to the market proper. Happy to take a few seconds’ respite from his labors to accommodate the request of the photographer.

Then there’s the wonderful photo of the man and his dog at the glass-front meat counter—the dog on its hind legs, front paws on the rail below the glass—equally diligently inspecting the case contents.

Don Stockman died last year of cancer. After a tour of military service, most of it in Germany, he did some college in Germany and then some at the University of Buffalo, from where he received a BA in photography. He later worked as a biomedical photographer at Buffalo General Hospital, among other photographic work stints.

Accompanying the 1970s-era photos is an assortment of Broadway Market photos from around Easter time last year by Michael Mulley. The time of the year the market—like Lazarus—is recalled to life. Colorful photos of shopper crowds, and rows of butter lambs and chocolate bunnies.

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